Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Around the Edge of Habit

we uncoiled as we relaxed in the sun

One of the reasons that Lynn Brice Rosen suggested playing around with my guitar during a lie down is "A musician's instrument is a powerful stimulus, often triggering patterned responses even when nothing's being played."  So very true.  This was illustrated last night at my session with David Jernigan when, as I was semi-supine on the floor, he simply plucked an open string as the guitar lay in the case.  There was a flutter in my chest, almost a longing, and a bit of who is that playing my guitar.  As he continued to play open strings I worked with staying with my body but the distraction of merely hearing my guitar was pulling me.  When I could see him begin to lift the guitar from the case, I had another reaction, but then he set it back.

Tonight I was preparing to play, by first doing a lie down to release the toll of my day.  As I hit the floor I wondered, suppose I did not play after the lie down but did something else.  Seeing an opportunity to exercise a real choice here, I choose to not move to playing right after the lie down.  Then the stories began, but then the time doing constructive rest is wasted if you just clean your desk.  You could sit with the guitar. Or play your dumbek instead, at least this would be musical I reasoned.  But the habitual pull of moving from lie down needed to be inhibited.  Upon arising I sorted through some old food sections for a few minutes.  Then as I moved toward the guitar I began singing and even began to dance.  Some spirited playing ensued.

Habits are so strong, and sometimes even very good habits need to be examined and set free.

Photo by Michael C Clark


  1. Patrick --what fun you had exploring all of this--in your lesson with David as well as during your own lie-down. What I like about what Wholebody Listening brings to AlexTech is a shift in the noticing & in the conversations. Both Mr A & Gene Gendlin [] have brought us processes dealing with Right Relationship[s] on all levels.

    The language I'd choose today would be something like--'so, something in you notices how accustomed you are to playing right after a liedown; and something else is noticing what comes when you choose something different. Are there particular places within you that 'resonate' with those thoughts? What happens if you just observe them with gentle curiosity?

    By allowing yourself to be in relationship with all of that--just the way it is/just the way you are, what was finally able to emerge from within the All of You was singing, dancing & "spirited playing".

    What rich vitality came alive! Thx for letting us in on your play-full-ness. L

  2. "around the edge of habit"...: there's space at the edge, isn't there? I love the experience of "the space between"---and the spaciousness that grows around/through/within it.

  3. Lynn - I find that when the moment of noticing arrives I come alive. My awareness is heightened, I hear what I am saying to myself, and the possibility for a real choice becomes possible. Being in relationship with what I am doing and what I think I am doing is ongoing, fleeting, and at times absolutely wonderful.

    I'm not sure if my title "around the edge of habit" actually has meaning. The sense this phrase imparted to me spoke to the complexity of the situation when I recognize, engage, and work with transforming with a habit. Thanks for your interest, thoughts, and attention.

    1. I find it infinitely fascinating that a musician can respond so strongly to something as simple as a plucked note. One has to work to get to that point. At first we need the crutches of key, rhythm, context, texture, melody and all the rest. But when you can celebrate the miracle of sound in a single note, you really have attained something.